IFC to assist Sri Lanka’s Central Bank to help the country’s under-banked and under-insured small businesses
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a member of the World Bank Group, has reportedly come forward to provide financial and technical assistance to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to develop a national strategy to help under-banked and under-insured people and small businesses to receive financial services required by them.
“As Sri Lanka looks to grow, a strong, inclusive financial sector is crucial, simply because, financial inclusion is pretty much the need of the hour for sustainable, continued economic development,” IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives Amena Arif has been quoted as saying in the local media.
According to IFC, about 2.5 billion adults in the developing world don’t have access to financial services, 625 million of them in South Asia alone and around 200 million small businesses in emerging economies can’t access credit they need to grow.
“Sri Lanka presents a rosy picture in terms of the wide range of financial service providers in the country, high levels of physical access to branches, and a high number of accounts,” Arif has said.
According to reports, Sri Lanka has 18.6 bank branches for each 100,000 people in the population, and 83 percent of all adults have bank accounts. Over 80 percent of adult women have savings accounts.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the IFC this week launched the Development Process for the country’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy.
The process involves extensive consultations with members of the public sector, private sector, civil society organizations, and academia.
The IFC’s decision to assist the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to reach out to under-banked and under-insured small businesses in the island nation is an encouraging sign for start-ups as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The IFC has stated that the financial service providers in the country, physical access to branches, and the number of accounts held by individuals were at a high level in the country. Therefore, the IFC partnership with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka will provide many opportunities for local start-ups and SMEs.
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